Caixin
Feb 02, 2021 08:09 PM
WORLD

China’s Top Diplomat Urges U.S. to Abandon Trump’s ‘Misguided Policies’

Yang Jiechi. Photo: Xinhua
Yang Jiechi. Photo: Xinhua

The new U.S. government should abandon “misguided policies” that view China as a “strategic competitor or adversary” and work with Beijing to restore bilateral relations to a “predictable and constructive” track, China’s highest ranking diplomat urged Tuesday.

Yang Jiechi, a Communist Party Politburo member and foreign affairs director of its Central Committee, told a National Committee on U.S.-China Relations virtual event that former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration adopted “misguided policies against China, plunging the relationship into its most difficult period since the establishment of diplomatic ties.”

“The root cause,” Yang said, “is a strategic misjudgment by some in the United States. They view China as a major strategic competitor, even an adversary. That, I am afraid, is historically, fundamentally and strategically wrong.”

Yang said China is committed to the path of “peaceful development, a win-win strategy of opening-up.” He warned that “no force can even hold back” the country’s development.

Yang’s remarks came two weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20. He has been the highest ranking Chinese official to speak on the U.S.-China relationship since Biden’s inauguration.

However, the new administration’s senior officials and cabinet nominees, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, have struck a tough tone on China, regarding Beijing as ”the most important strategic competitor” and vowing to push back China’s alleged “abusive, unfair and illegal practices.”

Appealing to the new U.S. government, Yang hoped the U.S. “will rise above the outdated mentality of zero-sum, major-power rivalry and work with China to keep the relationship on the right track.”

The 70-year-old Politburo member said China is prepared to ”move the relationship forward along the track of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation for the well-being of both countries and peoples.”

Yang urged the two countries to restore normal interactions and, at the government level, “our embassies and other channels should serve as bridges,” he said.

Beijing and Washington had engaged in a tit-for-tat diplomatic confrontation to close each side’s consulates in Houston and Chengdu respectively in July last year.

Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, has urged the Biden administration to take the first step in correcting the current situation as a good faith gesture.

Yang said he hoped the new administration will also “remove the stumbling blocks to people-to-people exchanges, like harassing Chinese students, restricting Chinese media outlets, shutting down Confucius Institutes and suppressing Chinese companies.”

He also vowed that China would continue to “stand firm as we defend our sovereignty, security and development interests.” 

“The United States should stop interference in the affairs of Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang, which all matter to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and stop attempts to hold back China’s development by meddling in China’s internal affairs,” he said. 

Contact reporter Lu Zhenhua (zhenhualu@caixin.com) and editor Michael Bellart (michaelbellart@caixin.com)

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